By Rémi Walbaum
Although fears that technology will wipe out jobs and human relationships in its wake, market trends show that as the world becomes more digitalized, consumers are looking for a real, concrete and personalized service.
The hospitality industry has always been committed to putting people at the center of its concerns, and this is not about to change. However, it is clear that new technologies can help to further improve the customer experience.
Artificial intelligence (AI) at the service of the customer
Artificial intelligence (AI) unveils new data that can be analyzed to personalize the experience, predict behavior, and increase customer loyalty. Industry professionals who understand how to use these new technologies wisely will stand out from their competitors in the marketplace. Until now, hoteliers have often made their decisions by examining their environment and market research. Today, hoteliers are beginning to become familiar with artificial intelligence via mobile applications, chatbots and booking platforms such as Booking.com and TripAdvisor.
However, with these new technologies, the field of possibilities is constantly expanding: hoteliers now have the possibility to acquire information before their guests even enter their hotel, such as the reason for their choice, their particular interests based on previous trips, comments posted online, etc. The customer experience can then take on a whole new dimension.
New technologies and employment
From a human resources point of view, organizational charts in hotels are traditionally based on a hierarchy in which one can move up the ladder with age and experience. Today, professional experience is no longer the main criterion for success: it has become just as important to be able to understand new technologies and put them intelligently at the service of the customer. Often, it is young people who best master this exercise, allowing for ascents and cross-functional exchanges within the company.
Thus, the intuition of a very experienced marketing director can very quickly become obsolete if the latter does not remain curious and open to change.
We see it every day at the Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne: students propose original solutions to business problems using new technologies and new concepts. They are digital natives, and our role as educators is to guide them to make the best use of these new tools.
In order to stay afloat in a sea of new technologies, tomorrow’s leaders will need to be adaptable, curious and, above all, enthusiastic about engaging young people in their teams.
*This article was originally published on HTR.
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